First World War - Naval Warfare



  • Significance - Battleship - Status - Power 
    • Cold hard military - If mine better? How many?
    • Important political and cultural - Spending large amount of money on them - Public expectation that they will be useful 
  • Why do the big ships matter?
    • If you want to bombard somewhere - Use smaller ships - Cruisers - Backed up by the Battleships 
    • Heirarchy - Apex preditors - Top of the chain 
    • Drednought battlehsips - 1906 - Create battleships that have only big guns
    • Battlecruiser - Faster moving than ordinary battleships - Less armour however to allow it to move faster 
  • 15 inch gun - Shell is 15 inches across - Fire out 20 miles - Effective range is less than that - Incredible peice of military machinary 
  • Battleship - Fireing lumps of metal - Oil fired boilers - Engine - Push this threw water at 24 noughts - Crew of 1000 men needed - If the naval battle goes badly - If it sinks or explodes - Lots of men lost at once - Maximum effect - Move around in groups - Squadrents 
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Introduction - Part Two

  • Maintain them - Repair and replenish them 
  • Money into port facilities - Protect them from attack too 
  • To deliver naval power - Investment in battleships and resources they use 
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Global 'Tidying Up'

  • Aug 1914 - Small military forces - Scattered - Germans - Light modern cruisers - Plan - Used for attacks on merchant ships - German Far Eastern Squadrennt - Singsow - Most powerful of Germans ships
  • SMS Emden - Slips away in Aug - Attacks in September - Eventually tracked down and destroyed - December 1914 - Deverts small amount of resources - Limited
  • Rest of Far Eastern Squadrent - 2 armoured crusiers and 2 light cruisers - Commanded by Von Spee - Nov - Bumb into aging Britsh squadrent - Put to bottom of the sea easily - Humiliating for British Navy - British Navy get two modern cruisers to hunt down Von Spee - Catch up with him - Went down with his ship with two of his sons - Shown as a hero in Germany - Besides this the German naval ships don't have a lasting effect on the war 
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North Sea

  • Main naval theatre of the war 
  • Two main basses for the Germans:
    • Kiel - On Baltin - Widened the Kiel canal 
    • Wilhelmshaven - On North Sea 
  • British Locations
    • Scapa Flow - Main - Natural Harbour - Easy to defend
    • Rosyth - Closer to German naval basis - Easier for enemy to get at
  • 1914 - Allied dominance - Not overwhelming - 20 dreadnoughts - Germans have 13 - Advantage but not much room for error - Flux in 1915 and 1916 - New ships - British - Better ship building facilities - Don't have to worry about where metal will go, they can by enough - Germans have a limited amount of Metal so they have to choose between ships and artilery 
  • Angst - Lack of huge margin - Winston Churchil - Admiral Jellicoe - Only man who can lose a war in an afteroon - If he looses quickly and badly - Looks bad for them - Britian would have to bring lots of troops from France to defend coast
  • British Naval power - Prevent German access high sea and world economy - Distance blockade placed on Germany - Use the lucky georgraphy to prevent movement of ships in and out of North sea - German merchant ship - Go through British channel or over Scotland
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North Sea - Part Two

  • Naval blockade - Long slow strangrilation - Show in the end 
  • British problem - Public - Not what they paid for prior to the war - Taxes - Want a big battle - Confirm naval dominance - Other problem - Gives inniative to the Germans - By backing away from German coast and not starting battle with them - Lets them decide when to fight - Germans try and engage the British in circumstances which are unfavourable to them - Slowly wittle down the British advantage - When you do have big naval clash - Not disadvantage 
  • Try and provoke British - December 1914 - Ship out to attack the Yorkshire coast - Attack Scarbourgh - Used for propoganda for Britian 
  • Problem for Public and Gov - German vessels - Can come out into North Sea - Attack coast - Get away - Navy does nothing - Pressure builds that they should be doing something and stopping the British 
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Dogger Bank - 24th January 1915

  • Royal navy - Respond aggresively
  • Indecivive engagement 
  • British get warning of what Germans are going to do - Admiralty - Room 40 - Break German encription - Predict what Germans are going to do
    • Not well handled - Doesnt go to people who need it early enough - Doesnt give them advantage 
  • Both side - Experience gun problems - Being able to hit ships
  • Difficulties with damage control - Trying to repair the ships - Keep afloat 
  • Germans - Relise they had near miss in ammunition handling after Dogger Bank
  • If you want to hit enemy - Fire more shells - Override safety systems
  • Both sides claim victory - Nothing chances
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Battle of Jutland

  • May 1916 - Climax of naval war 
    • Germans are trying - Admiral Spee is trying lure British into engagement with high sea fleet
    • Because of Room 40 - British know what the Germans will do - Order more ships over 
    • Sets things up - For big battle 
  • Battle - Involves 250 ships - British have numerical advantage 
    • Dreadnoughts - 28 British and 16 Germans
  • Series of confused engagements - Cruisers meeting in mid-afternoon - Germans get early upper hand as the British suffer two explosions as of German shells - Causes to British cruisers running back - Germans presue them - Run into main British fleet - Germans turn to run away 
  • Poor intelligence and visability - Germans escape
  • Why is it that the battleships exploded?
    • Amunition handling
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Battle of Jutland

    • Safety systems - Certain number of shells and power in turrets - If enemy shells hit turrets - Only going to detonate the amount of ammo in the turret - Safety system stops the whole ship going up
    • If you want to fire more ammo - Put more in the turret - Override safety system - Can have both doors on top and bottom open - Turrent hit - Explosion will cause whole ship to go up 
  • Losses - Seen as German victory - As they lose less personnel (British: 6,094 and German: 2,551) - Learn it is risky to lure the Royal Navy out into Battle - Don't do this again 
  • Jutland - Changes nothing on strategic level 
    • British are still in control of exits of the North Sea
    • Propoganda mocking British not doing anything after Jutland
    • Expected great victory - Didn't get this - Navy doesnt perform to expectation - Near miss? - If things had gone differently - Wrong end of major lose 
    • Key advantages - Information they gain - Fragile - If Germans change codes - British lose intel
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US Entry to the War

  • Arrival of the US navy - Shifts power in favour of British
  • 7th Decmeber - 1917 - 4 US Dreadnougths - Lead units of the USN 6th battle squadrents of the elite - Boost of 12% of navel power 
  • Bring lots of destoryers - Small vessels - Protecting submarines - Moving people about 
  • Americans - Win the naval war - By boosting the British numbers
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  • 1914:
    • September 13th - U9 sinks HMS, Hogue, Cressy and Aboukir killing 1,400
  • 1915:
    • Feburary 4th - Germany declares unrestricted U-Boat warfare around Britian 
    • March 28th - British liner Fashoda torpedoes, American Killed
    • May 7th - Sinking of the Lusitania, 1,200 dead including 124 Americans 
    • September 1st - Germany states intention to follow 'cruiser rules' for passenger ships
  • 1916:
    • March 23rd - Sinking of channel ferry Sussex
    • May 4th - Germany states intention to follow 'cruiser rules' for merchantmen
  • Germans - State of stop go with U-Boat policy - Germans discover they have great attacking system - Sinking of Lusitania - Pressure from US - Germans retreat
  • Germans not going to go after merchant ships at 1916
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1917: Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

  • 22nd December 1916 - Admiral von Holtzendorff - Pivotal document for Germany's resumption of unrestricted U-boat warfare in 1917
  • Proposed breaking Britian's back by sinking 600,000 tons of shipping per month, based on a February 1916 study - Dr. Richard Fuss - Postulated that if merchant shipping was sunk at such a rate, Britian would run out of shipping and be forced to sue for peace within six months, well before the Americans could act 
  • Allied Response:
    • Policy of unrestricted submarine warfare was initially a success - Jan 1917 - Prior to campaign - Britian lost 49 ships in Feb - After it opened - 105 - March lost 147 - March a full 25% of all British-bound shipping was sunk
    • First - British Admirality failed to respond effectively to the German offensive - Despite the proven success of troop convoys earlier in the war - Channel convoys between England and France, and the Dutch, French, and Scandiavian convoys in the North Sea, they initially refused to consider widespread convoying or escorting
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1917: Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

    • Convoying imposed severe delays on shipping, and was believed to be counterproductive, amounting to a loss of carrying capacity greater than the loss of carrying capacity greater than the loss inflicted by the U-Boats - Disliked by both merchant and naval captians, and derided as a defensive measure - Not until April 27th that the Admiralty endorsed the convoy system, the first convoy sailing for Gibraltar on 10th May
    • April, US Rear Admiral William Sims arrived in London - As Naval Liaison - Dismayed to be informed by the Admiralty that Germany would win the war if its submarines went unchecked, and cabled Washington to have USN destroyers despatched to Queenstown, Ireland, from where they were to patrol the west
      • As merchantmen from Allied countries were sunk - Brazillian ships took over routes that had been vacated - Led to the Brazillian vessels into watrs patrolled by U-Boats - When couples with Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, the result was that Brazilian ships were soon lost, which drove the country closer to declaring war on the Central Powers
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